Will your head roll?
There is a new Darren Shan book in the offering, but the first thing to say is that this is probably not the type of book that you may have been expecting from Darren Shan. It's not a horror/gore-fest - it has none of the normal associated themes of Demons, Vampires and monster-like creatures ripping out each others throats. In fact it is very different to any of the other book series (Cirquedufreak and Demonata) that he is also well-known for.
Although the book still reads like a high action ride of terror, it is written in a more traditional style about a brutal nation of warriors. Jebel’s family holds the highest honour; his father is executioner but Jebel is considered too thin to compete to replace him.
Humiliated and furious, Jebel vows to regain his honour in a quest to petition the fire god for invincibility. The journey is long, filled with unknown monsters and by the end of it, Jebel isn’t quite sure what he wants anymore.
The book follows Jebel's adventure into unknown lands in a quest to find the mystery god, who can give him unimaginable powers, which I know sounds like a cliche. However whilst it may turn out to be just another tale that's been told and passed down through the generations, Jebel still sets off on his search. . . . and the nightmare begins.
The story is well written with many thought provoking emotions running through the dialogue between Jebel, and his slave Tel Hesani. These leave a lasting affect on the reader, which add a new dimension to the book. The detail that has gone into the plot and the pace of the story are equally very good.
It's a brutal ride; covering religious and cult themes that have you chilled to the bone. The encounter with the tribe known as the Um Saga and their leader Qasr Bint is not for the feint hearted or the younger reader. Be warned that this book, whilst different to other Darren Shan books, has not been toned down in any way.
I loved the book; it had me shocked, captivated and engrossed all at the same time. This is the first of many 'standalone' books to come from Darren Shan; it's good to read something different from him, and see him flex his creative arm in order to find new readers. This book will find a new army of fans and add to his popularity. What will he write next?
The book is published by HarperCollins 1 May 2010 (and is reputed to be one of Darren Shan's favourite books to date.)